The fuzzy gospel

I’ve been researching kingdom exclusion, the belief that carnal Christians will be punished during the millennial reign of Jesus (Rev. 20), for over a year now, debating with proponents of this theology in person, on the phone and on the Internet. A long and fruitful dialogue can be found at Steve Husting’s blog: Exploring Kingdom Exclusion.

Often, exclusionists say they are merely studying the doctrine, that they have not formed concrete opinions. I don’t accept that this is true, for their blogging reveals the opposite. This is apparent in the accusatory nature of their writings, when they charge that mainline churches don’t teach accountability. “I can imagine that a majority of church-goers do not think about these things at all,” complains Husting.

Yet when pressed to explain exactly what “accountability” is, he demurs. “This is not an organized movement after all,” writes Husting, “so you should not expect cohesion. That’s what makes your crusade all the harder — no real consensus. If you successfully debunk one man, you’ll still find plenty of other people who believe in variations on the theme.”

Why would the “majority of church-goers” think about ill-defined “things”? Is it not reasonable to demand concrete answers?

To Husting’s comment that exclusion is not an “organized movement,” that I “should not expect cohesion,” I reply:

That’s my chief argument against exclusion: lack of cohesion. In fact, it’s nearly incoherent. It’s proponents lambaste Catholic purgatory (even using the same proof-texts), despite the obvious similarities, they present their ideas as established fact, despite that they rampantly contradict one another, and they accuse other Christians of not teaching this “truth,” despite that no one can agree on what it is.

You set up an interesting paradigm. Earlier in this thread you wrote, “I understand that he invited me to speak simply because I believe in personal accountability.” Well, I believe in accountability. I believe in the necessity of good works, too. I believe judgment will begin with the house of the Lord. I believe our works will be tested (literally or figuratively — you choose) by fire. So, if a precise understanding of scripture is not necessary, I suppose I also teach an acceptable accountability gospel — as do the majority of Christian churches.

© 2008, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *